Contactless Technology & the Future of the Foodservice Industry
Images Retail|October 2020
The dine-in sector saw a drop of 6 percent in the number of restaurants in the first week of March, another 20 percent in the subsequent week. It all came to a standstill from April and lasted till mid-June. The only option left for many restaurants amidst the chaos was to become takeaway and delivery only outlets, explain foodservice industry leaders, while outlining their strategy to overcome the COVID era…
Charu Lamba

It is no secret that pandemic has impacted the foodservice industry just like any other industry in India. The industry relies on people who either step out of their homes or order in, but due to the pandemic, both mediums saw a sharp downfall in numbers. As brands looked for an alternative to continue operations, low demand, and social distancing norms led many brands shutting their outlets, especially the dine-in.

“The dine-in sector saw a drop of 6 percent in the number of restaurants in the first week of March, another 20 percent in the subsequent week. It all came to a standstill from April and lasted till mid-June. The only option left for many restaurants amidst the chaos was to become takeaway and delivery only outlets to ride out this pandemic,” says Kabir Jeet Singh, CEO & Co-Founder at Burger Singh.

“Certain sectors of the industry which were already in the delivery business have seen their business grow. However, the vast majority of dine-in facilities such as cafés, restaurants, bars and food courts in malls have been dealt a very severe blow with many casualties,” adds Kazem Samamdari, Founder, L’Opera.

Many restaurateurs have been quick to adapt to some changes in their business model to offer their customers more flexible, pandemic-friendly dining options.

Regaining Consumer Confidence

RYU

“We are all pumped up to step back in the game and step up with our work while ensuring that all COVID-19 safety norms issued by the government are followed stringently. Unlike previous times, we have decided to shift-schedule for our staff to abide with the preventive measures. The whole team has been allotted with flexible schedule to ensure the safety of both our customers and the staff. Only ve out of 24 staff working at the outlet will be attending the guests at a time. These measures will help us in maintaining social distancing as per adhering to government guidelines thus, catering to impeccable hospitality with safety and security.

From next month we are expecting to regain our guest by 45 to 60 percent,” says Shyam Thakur, Founder, RYU.

Burger Singh

“At Burger Singh, we launched a campaign called #YourSafetyFirst for our customers. An industry rst and integral part of the campaign was to provide our customers with the opportunity to check the CCTV feed of the kitchen for the duration in which their order was prepared. Under the same campaign, we also introduced an internal contact tracing and attendance app for our staff.

Frequent sanitisation of outlets and warehouses, daily temperature checks of staff and patrons, PPEs for our personnel, delivery vehicle sanitisation before dispatch, and mandatory hand sanitisation at 15-minute intervals are just some of the many precautionary measures taken by us. The staff is also provided with immunity booster vitamins and enhanced medical coverage. All staff members undergo COVID-19 antibody tests twice a month. To ensure contactless deliveries, we have switched entirely to online modes of payment and leave the order at the doors. The customer receives the food, a sanitizer pouch and the bill along with the details of the staff members who either prepared or handled their order.

To ensure a contactless dine-in/ take away experience, we have switched entirely to online modes of payment. The customer scans a QR code at their table or at the takeaway counter and a digital menu is made available on their phone. They receive a WhatsApp notification when the order is ready and can pick up their order from specially designated food pick up counters inside and outside the store,” says Singh.

Daryaganj

“We are doing self-regulation, where we have created our own internal audit systems. We monitor this on a daily basis. We have created eight key safety measures:

1. We are following social distancing as per the advised norms.

2. We conduct daily sanitisation in our restaurant as set by the WHO.

3. We have started contactless ordering, payment, and delivery.

4. We conduct a mandatory thermal screening at entry point.

5. Aarogya Setu safety checks have been made mandatory.

6.. Our chefs underwent training for food handlers during COVID times conducted by FSSAI and are following the highest standards of hygiene.

7.. We have also introduced double layered packaging for our food.

8. The use of protective gear by our staff while handling and serving food.

What matters the most in regaining the customer confidence is being transparent about the safety measures in place for customer and employees,” Amit Bagga, Co-founder, Daryaganj states.

L’Opéra

“The major concern of consumers, which includes all of us, is understandably food safety and hygiene. To address this, L’Opéra implemented a series of measure at its production centre, in all its outlets and its logistics and delivery infrastructure. These include personal hygiene measures such as personal protective equipment, frequent washing of hands, temperature checks, voluntary confinement at slightest suspicion of illness, multiple daily cleaning of exposed surfaces, sanitisation of the vehicles, reduction of dine-in seating places, temperature checks and sanitisation of hands of patrons at the entrance of the outlets, social distancing, etc. just to name a few measures.

In addition to these procedural measures, L’Opéra pioneered the individual packing of all its products, thus eliminating the danger of contamination once the items had left the production unit,” asserts Samamdari.

Ophelia

“We have come up with air-conditioned cabanas which have glass walls and sheer curtains in between to maintain distance between two groups. The seating and sta ng has been reduced to 50 percent to ensure social distancing. All other steps like constant check of temperature, hand sanitizers, gloves and masks have been ensured.

Additionally, we are not serving to any guests standing at the bar top. Our kitchen follows very strict cleaning and hygiene standards and still maintains the same. Food handlers ensure proper hand wash every half an hour. Use of gloves and masks is mandatory before entry to premises. All the crockery is sanitized with chlorine solution before final use,” says Akshay Anand, Co-founder, Ophelia.

First Fiddle F&B Pvt. Ltd

“We have taken a lot of steps to gain the consumer confidence back. We sanitize our tables after every turnover, we are operating only up to 50 percent of our occupancy, we make sure that tables are distant from each other,” says Priyank Sukh a, MD & CEO of First Fiddle F&B Pvt. Ltd.

Industry Speak

“CERTAIN SECTORS OF THE INDUSTRY WHICH WERE ALREADY IN THE DELIVERY BUSINESS HAVE SEEN THEIR BUSINESS GROW. HOWEVER, THE VAST MAJORITY OF DINE-IN FACILITIES SUCH AS CAFÉS, RESTAURANTS, BARS AND FOOD COURTS IN MALLS HAVE BEEN DEALT A VERY SEVERE BLOW WITH MANY CASUALTIES.” – KAZEM SAMAMDARI, FOUNDER, L’OPERA

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